In the end, it wasn't even close — just over a half-hour after polls closed in California last night, the call came that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom had easily survived the recall effort against him. The "No" recall votes stand at around 64 percent this morning, while "Yes" is at about 36 percent. Just a month ago, polling showed the governor in real peril. But those same surveys over the last few weeks accurately measured a significant surge as Democratic voters finally engaged in the contest — spurred on by polarizing GOP frontrunner Larry Elder —and delivered Newsom the decisive victory.

To be sure, the deck was always stacked against the pro-recall forces, even if they had early enthusiasm on their side. As we detailed earlier, the California of 2021 and 2003, when Gov. Gray Davis was successfully recalled and replaced by movie star Arnold Schwarzenneger, is vastly different. Newsom's approval ratings remained above 50 percent while Davis's had cratered to the 20s, and Republicans now account for less than a quarter of registered voters. Plus, the low threshold

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